After seeing a Flintstone-themed motel bar (Griswolds: Part 3) on the 64 North, I wasn’t sure how a giant hole in the earth was ever going to compare.
Since my wife and I are 62 years old, retired and live in an RV, we each have our own National Parks Passport books. For those who haven’t taken their nature appreciation to the next level, at every National Park you visit, you can stop by the visitor center and pick up a coordinating sticker with the park you’re visiting. This book is a great conversation starter and usually ends up being the big hit of the night.
On the approach to the center at the South Rim (gross) entrance, we were pelted with driving rain, lightning and gusty winds. Jen and I rode in silence, listening to my wipers go back and forth. We both knew what the next step was. The stickers. We stopped the car and had a Mexican stand-off from drivers seat to passengers seat.
If she ran in for the stickers, I would technically be in charge, if either one of the kids started to cry or needed emergency attention. If I went in, I would certainly get drenched, possibly hit by debris or smote with lightning, BUT, I wouldn’t be responsible for our kids. Simple.
I ran down the path from my car like a jerk, no umbrella or jacket, sideswiping tourists, trying to find cover.
As we moved into the park, we stopped off at the village, specifically the souvenir shop. With redneck blood running through our veins, we tried on Daniel Boone hats and bought a pocketknife with my name branded into it. We paid for our junk and ordered hoagies on the way out, thinking that we might be able to pull over and have a nice picnic lunch on the rim.
I picked Ava up from the shopping cart and squeezed her in my arms, wringing out a full diaper in the process. This soaker took out both her pants and my t-shirt. I opened up a changing station on the backseat of our car, but all of her clothes were locked inside a Thule on top of the car. Instead of fighting the current, finding the right key and climbing up there to dig around, I chose lazy river. I used a soda and breastmilk anchor to secure the pants in front of the heating vents. The only problem with my fix was once you start driving. Thumbs down, I don’t recommend this.
This is a picture of the south rim. It looked surreal. A Bob Ross painting on steriods. Some beautiful, wispy clouds, with a few happy little trees that dance their way down into a ravine of death, Bob’s little secret. As we neared the edge for a good picture and a thrill, I took a minute to think about all the Clark Griswolds before me that fell a mile into this hole while posing for a picture. Not me, not this guy. Not happening.
At the point in which I took this picture, I thought, what would it have to take for me to run back to the car and miss all of these great photos?
The answer was, one middle-aged lady with a day pass getting smacked in the head with a piece of hail the size of a marble. She dropped to her knees, dazed from the blow, while forty of us buffalo stampeded back to our cars.
I used the doppler app on my iphone (you know you want it) to track our progress driving through the storm. The dings on the outside of the car woke the kids up, who were crying hysterically. I can’t blame them, it sounded like we were taking flak on a bombing run. Using a gentle scream, Jen asked me to pull over and wait it out.
Welcome to the Grand Canyon, Clark.